Call for a Free Consultation: (915) 845-4529

Dog bites can result in devastating injuries, leading to medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional trauma. As a result, many states have enacted laws to hold dog owners accountable for their pets’ actions. In this blog post, our team at the Ruhmann Law Firm will explore the differences between dog bite laws in Texas and New Mexico, helping you understand your rights and options if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in either state.

Texas & New Mexico Dog Bite Laws

Texas Dog Bite Laws

In Texas, dog bite cases are governed by a combination of state statutes and common law principles. The state adheres to the “one bite rule,” which protects the owner from liability if it is the dog’s first bite since they most likely are not aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies or propensity to bite.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the dog owner was negligent in controlling or restraining their dog, or if they violated a local leash law or other animal control ordinance, they may be held liable even if it was the dog’s first bite. Additionally, if the dog was known to be dangerous or had a history of aggressive behavior, the owner can be held strictly liable for any injuries caused by the dog, regardless of whether it was the first bite or not.

To prove liability in a Texas dog bite case, the victim must demonstrate that:

  • The defendant owned or possessed the dog,
  • The dog bit the victim, and
  • The victim did not provoke the dog or was not trespassing at the time of the bite.

If these elements are met, the victim may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and other damages related to the dog bite incident.

New Mexico Dog Bite Laws

In contrast to Texas, New Mexico follows a “strict liability” rule for dog bites. Under this rule, a dog owner is automatically liable for any injuries triggered by their pet regardless of whether the dog had a history of aggression or whether the owner had knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite.

The New Mexico dog bite statute NMSA 77-1-10 states that “the owner of a dog shall be liable in damages for any injury, death or loss to person or property caused by the dog.” This means that even if a dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner can still be held responsible for the victim’s damages.

There are a few exceptions to New Mexico’s strict liability rule. If the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or if they were found to be provoking the dog at the time of the bite, the owner may not be held liable. Additionally, if the dog was being used by law enforcement or military personnel in the line of duty, the strict liability rule may not apply.

Comparative Negligence

It is important to note that both Texas and New Mexico follow the principle of comparative negligence in personal injury cases, including dog bite cases. This means that if the victim is found to be partially at fault for the incident, their compensation may be reduced by the percentage of their negligence.

For example, if a victim in Texas is found to be 20% at fault for provoking the dog, and their total damages are $10,000, they may only be able to recover $8,000 from the dog owner (80% of the total damages). The same rule also applies to the state of New Mexico.

Seek Legal Guidance

Conversely, while both Texas and New Mexico have laws in place to protect dog bite victims and hold dog owners accountable, there are significant differences between the two states’ approaches. Texas follows the “one bite rule,” which requires proof of prior knowledge or negligence on the part of the dog owner. Meanwhile, New Mexico adheres to a “strict liability” standard, holding dog owners responsible for bites regardless of prior history or knowledge.

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in either Texas or New Mexico, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you get through the challenges of each state’s dog bite laws. At the Ruhmann Law Firm, our knowledgeable team is dedicated to protecting the rights of dog bite victims and securing the compensation they deserve. Contact us today by calling (915) 206-5255 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your case. You can also fill out our form online and one of our attorneys will be with you shortly.


Contact Us | Scholarship | PRIVACY POLICY | Disclaimer | Sitemap | law firm local seo

Disclaimer : The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The content of this Website may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The Firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this Website.

Contact Us